I am looking at my floor and I guess I could clean it, the dog has covered it in muddy footprints. Then again, Grandma will be back soon from her shopping trip with the kids, is it too presumptuous to think she'll do it?
Cyber bullying is a huge issue in our schools and the problem starts at home. It's what we teach our kids, tell our kids, and how we hold them accountable for their actions. As my children grow I realize that their lives and thoughts are separate from mine. They continue to put up walls and boundaries that are harder to break through. Their friends are influencing them more than ever before.
So how do we keep our kids from being bullied or becoming bullies?
Do we need to look at the causes or the effect? I don't think we can do anything about the TV shows, movies, Internet, video games, or societal attitudes. Trying to stop the cause is not a realistic goal, so we are left with finding solutions to the effects. If our children are going to participate in the world so must we. We need to be aware of the media that effect them and understand how their values are formed by them.
Communication is always the solution to forming strong bond between parents and children. Whether or not communications are effective depends on how parents communicate with their children. To instill values in our children do we give orders, "We don't believe in abortion!" Do we give ultimatums, "Don't show up on my doorstep pregnant!" Do we judge others,"Girls that sleep around are worthless." I don't believe talking at children or teens helps them develop values, you have to talk with them.
Keep communications open, plan one on one time with your teen with no electronic distractions. Initiate communication with "safe" non confrontational questions. Your current relationship will determine how long before you can start hitting the harder questions. When you feel the conversation is flowing freely and the barriers are down start asking them what they think about things going on in the news. What they thought about a movie. Then you can start asking them what their opinion is on the "big" values, abortion, drugs, bullying, etc. Don't judge the answers, don't react if you don't agree. Just listen and ask why. What are their reasons behind their beliefs or opinions. By understanding them you can then work towards helping them choose good values.
Stories help them to determine values. Pre schoolers watch shows and listen to stories filled with pure values that teach them to be helpful, selfless, and kind. Tweens watch shows and read books with more complex values and not all are pure and sweet. Then there are the stories that Teens watch and read. So how do parents mold their teen's values? Parent's need to watch the movies, read the books, and figure out their Internet lives to find red flags.
Parents do need to be sneaky, and its OK, these are your kids and its your responsibility to keep them safe. Just don't let them know how you have busted them on something, you don't want them hiding your evidence in the future. One of my facebook connections busted his daughter for sneaking out because she posted it, problem was he posted that she was busted. Next time she'll be more careful and he won't know what's happening. Pick the issues you want to address and then talk to them about it in general. Talk to teachers, read emails, friend on facebook, and check their rooms. Some things will freak you out, some things you will want to fix but with some things we have to trust that our children will fix them and we need to be there for them.
I am scared that my children won't always make the best decisions and that they may have to live through consequences I never would dream for them. I want to fix everything, be part of everything, know everything, and keep them from harm. Realistically though I can't, I can only be there if they do to help them get through it. I wish life wasn't so difficult but it is and its getting more dangerous. We didn't have to deal with Internet as kids but we did have mean girls, we had bullies, we had sex, drugs and crime. Those things are no different, the only part that has changed is the scope, its more public with easier access. The values are the same and the solution is the same, communicate. Don't wait for them to come to you, you have to create opportunities to come together.
Cyber bulling is a criminal action - make sure your child isn't on either side of the court room.
Cyber bulling causes depression
Educational systems are taking a role in Cyber Bullying Prevention
Facebook Cyber Bullying and the Arrests
I wanted to bring this blog back into the right topic.... Raising children. I have recently been writing a lot about global crime, which I am passionate about, and that doesn't fit the purpose of this blog.
So to fix this situation I started a new blog.... Can We End Global Crime?
The purpose of the blog is to inspire discussion and brain storm ideas and inspire action to help change the world. Not a small goal to say the least, but I'm all for tackling hard difficult problems. So if you are tired of the crime in our world, either local, global or war, please take a moment to stop by and put your two cents worth into the discussion and help find a solution.
When our grand kids ask us how we could let atrocities like genocide and human trafficking of women happen what are we going to say? It didn't effect us so we ignored it. We had our own problems and crime to hide from so we ignored it. We were too busy working and buying stuff so we ignored it. We were optomistic happy people and that was negativity so we ignored it. In today's society with as much information as we have about atrocities and crimes, we can not pretend we didn't know. Regardless of the reason the result is the same, we know and we don't care enough.
Recently I read Shake hands with the Devil by Lt. General Romeo Dallaire and A Problem from Hell: America and Genocide by Samantha Powers. Two very good books with a very disturbing messages, the UN is all bark with no bite, conflicting political agendas delay action and since no one knows what to do they do nothing. Governments knew what was happening, leaders like President Clinton took no action while 800 000 people were slaughtered in 100 days and the Balkans became a flashback to the days of Hitler. Governments only take action when the people of the country want action to be taken, no one wanted to stop the killing of Tutsis or Muslims in distant impoverished countries. So what happens if genocide takes place in the Western countries? Will anyone care to come to the rescue?
Search human trafficking of women in Europe and you'll be surprised by the information that has been uncovered by journalists and NGOs. We know women from Eastern Europe are kidnapped and forced into a life of prostitution but do we care? Women go missing in the US and Canada to be forced into prostitution but do we care? Whether human trafficking of women for the sex trade is happening half way around the world or just down the street we don't care. We even blame the women for choices they made that landed them there in the first place, even though many were teens doing the same stupid things we did. We were just lucky to not be abducted.
What about kids? Surely we care when a child is harmed. Not really, genocide and displaced people around the world include children but we look the other way. Then there is the 11 year old girl who was gang raped in Texas while being video taped, obviously we care about this child. Not really, many are blaming her and saying she wanted it..... Exactly how can an 11 year old child consent to being gang raped?
Crime happens all around us but we marginalize it by making it someone else's problem and by doing so fool ourselves into believing we are safe. Yes women are abducted and forced into a life of sex slavery, but that is over there it wouldn't happen here. As long as we stay within our four walls and protect our children from harm we will all be OK. We are better parents, our girls wouldn't find themselves in bad situations where they end up being forced into the sex trade. There isn't anything we can do about it so why do anything at all. I am sure that the victims of these crimes will understand why we didn't care about them, after all they don't care about us - right. Whatever excuse or story we tell ourselves will keep us safe, right - Just ask Madeline McCann's parents, or Jaycee Lee Dugard.
Since we do nothing and our laws are written to protect the criminal and prosecute the victim things will only get worse. The Internet and global transportation have made crimes international and criminals harder to catch. There needs to be an international police agency separate from any political government set up to enforce major international crimes and protect citizens from crimes against humanity. The UN can't do it and NATO is tied too closely to its member governments political whims. Although there is a need, there is no will to create international laws and even less will to enforce them.
When I asked my grandparents how their generation could allow the Holocaust, they responded that they didn't know what was happening on the other side of the world. Considering the lack of communications and the lack of access to the camps I believe them. However, today is different with the Internet and CNN, we do know what is going on across the globe. What will you say when your grandchild asks what you did to help stop ____________________? I wonder what Bill Clinton, and the other leaders of the UN will say when God asks them what did they do to stop the genocide in Rwanda and Yugoslavia. What will you say when He asks you?
My son is getting older and it is so frustrating because I am having a hard time with the distance he's putting between us. I am beginning to understand how obsolete technology must feel. I know he doesn't mean to be mean but it still hurts just the same when he tells me he doesn't need me anymore.
I look at him and see a young man where a boy used to be. I wonder where all the time went and why I didn't hang on to every second of every moment with him. I was distracted at times by work, friends, TV, books, and the internet while he was growing up. I remember his baby years better than the last 5 years, his primary school years where friends grew more important than mom. I long for those wonderful years when I was the only person in his world.
Then I think about all the wonderful conversations we've had over the last year and all the indepth thoughts he has shared with me. Every year has brought something new something different as he grows into his own. I want to be with him sharing every minute of his life, but that is not alright. I need to let him go and be with friends, develop social circles of his own along with thoughts and beliefs that are his. Soon I will have to let him go to spend time with a special girl that is not me and that I know will be hardest of all.
Its hard not to feel less and less needed by my children. Sometimes I wonder if they really need me around at all, should I just leave and let them be? Sometimes I wonder if they love me anymore because they are so busy with their lives they forget me. That is the hardest part about letting out the apron strings, realizing that just because they aren't as close doesn't mean they don't need or love me less.
I know that my children still need me, just less than they did before, and I will have to find something else to fill that hole in myself. All those distractions that take my focus off my kids are what keep me sane and allow me to be there for them when they need me. The trick is to be able to turn off the distraction and focus on them.